Meelis Pakri, Ballet Master
Meelis Pakri joined the artistic staff of Houston Ballet as ballet master in August 2013. He is originally from Tallinn, Estonia and is a graduate of the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Upon graduation Mr. Pakri danced for five years with Estonian National Ballet as Principal Dancer. In 1990, he was a Guest Dancer at the International Ballet Festival in Havana, Cuba, honoring Alicia Alonso, and a Guest Principal Dancer for the National Theater of Macedonia in Skopje, Yugoslavia.
In addition to dancing with Estonian National Ballet, Mr. Pakri was a partnering and technique teacher at the Tallinn State Ballet School. Among his students were former stars of English National Ballet and Royal Ballet of Flanders in Antwerp, Belgium.
In 1991, at the invitation of Artistic Director Martin Fredmann, Mr. Pakri joined Colorado Ballet as Principal Dancer. During his ten years with the company as a dancer, he danced numerous classical and contemporary roles, including Albrecht in Giselle, the title role in George Balanchine's Apollo, Basilio in Don Quixote, the principal male in Balanchine's Rubies, and Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake. Mr. Pakri was also a frequent guest performer in Estonia and Japan.
In 1998, he was invited to perform as a guest artist with the Martha Graham Dance Company in the role of the Husbandman in Appalachian Spring at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In 2001, he retired from the stage.
From 2001-2006 Mr. Pakri served as the Ballet Master of Colorado Ballet. In the fall of 2004, Pakri returned to the stage to dance the role of Count Dracula in Michael Pink's Dracula for the Colorado Ballet. In 2005, Pakri received critical acclaim for staging the full length The Sleeping Beauty for Colorado Ballet.
In 2006, Mr. Pakri relocated to England, where he taught at The Royal Ballet Upper School in London, England, until August 2013. During his time there, Mr. Pakri's students won prizes at Youth America Grand Prix and Young British Dancer of the Year conpetitions. Mr. Pakri was also a guest teacher of Estonian National Ballet and a frequent guest instructor at many ballet schools around the world.